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Representatives of EU Member States' national parliaments met in Luxembourg for the 54th Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC), which took place on 30 November and 1 December 2015. The debates focused on the European agenda on migration, the strategy for a digital market in Europe, and lastly, EU enlargement policy. For the first session devoted to the European agenda on migration, the debates specifically concentrated on common asylum policy and legal migration policy, as well as the fight against illegal migration and external borders security. During the debates, an overwhelming majority of speakers stressed the importance of solidarity between EU Member States to respond to challenges linked to the refugees crisis.
The "Trade" part of the Foreign Affairs Council chaired by the Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, took place in Brussels on 27 November 2015. In the presence of the European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, the Ministers focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the United States. They also discussed the preparations for the WTO Ministerial Conference, which will take place in Nairobi in December 2015, and they focused on the negotiations with Mercosur, Japan and the ASEAN countries with a view to concluding free trade agreements. The Ministers further adopted conclusions on the EU's trade and investment policy.
The Luxembourg Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, will be in Brussels on Friday, 27 November 2015 to chair the EU " Foreign Affairs Council " - European Union Trade. The meeting is part of preparations for the 10 th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO ) which will be held in Nairobi from 15 to 18 December 2015.
Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, represented the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, at the 2nd Political Dialogue Meeting at ministerial level between the European Union and the Republic of Angola in Luanda on 19 November 2015. Within the framework of the cooperation agreement between the European Union and Angola, entitled "Joint Way Forward Angola - European Union", the discussions sought to move the relationship between Angola and the European Union to a higher level by strengthening political dialogue and bilateral cooperation in areas of common interest.
The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, together with the European Parliament, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), held a conference in Brussels on 17 November 2015 entitled "TTIP - What's in it for the social partners?". The purpose of the conference, which brought together social partners from the 28 Member States for the first time, was to address different aspects of the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being discussed by the EU and the USA, and in respect of which a number of concerns have been put forward.
During the 'Foreign Affairs' Council of the EU in the defence formation held in Brussels on 17 November 2015, the French Minister for Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, invoked the mutual assistance clause (Article 42(7) of the Treaty of Lisbon), which stipulates that in the event of an armed aggression against one of the Member States, the other 'Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power'. During his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Defence Étienne Schneider declared on behalf of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council: 'Alongside individual and coalition military action against Daesh (IS), which is responsible for these attacks, the European Union must continue to work together to find a political solution, and we must continue to support stronger security systems in friendly countries in the region. The Luxembourg Presidency and Luxembourg stand with and will continue to stand with our French neighbours and friends, offering assistance and solidarity in this time of hardship for their nation. We must not fall into the trap set by Daesh (IS) which seeks to lead us to alienate Muslims in our societies.'
On 11 November, Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, gave a speech at the opening session of the Valletta Summit on migration acting in his capacity as Head of Government for Luxembourg which currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. In his speech, Xavier Bettel stated that "Europe is experiencing its greatest migration crisis since the Second World War". He also stressed that "relations between our two continents cannot be built upon illegal or irregular migration, affirming his belief that a "two-way" solution must be found on migration. He concluded with an appeal to the African Heads of State and Government: "In view of the scale of the challenge that we are facing, humanitarian and development aid will, however, not be enough to meet the expectations of African youth who are full of hope and ambition. The response they are waiting for lies entirely in your hands, and we Europeans can only assist you in your efforts".
The School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme and the School Milk Scheme are currently separate programmes under which EU aid is allocated to member states. In January 2014, the Commission presented two proposals merging the schemes and amending the new Single Common Market Organisation (single CMO) regulation under the reformed Common agricultural policy (CAP) (5958/14) and the regulation fixing certain aids and refunds (6054/14). Following the examination of the proposal in the Council, on 12 October 2015 the Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) granted the Presidency a mandate to enter the first trilogue with the European Parliament on this proposal. The first trilogue took place on 20 October. The main issue at the time was the legal basis of the proposal, on which the mandate prepared for the 2nd trilogue shows some opening. At the end of the 2nd trilogue on 11 November, while recalling its attachment to reach a positive conclusion of this issue, the Presidency deems that it is appropriate to wait before setting the date of the next trilogue. It considers that further informal contacts in the meantime will allow to clarify some elements discussed and will facilitate those negotiations to resume efficiently as soon as possible.
On 11 November 2015, the Luxembourg Minister Nicolas Schmit, responsible for relations with the European Parliament during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU, addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament held in Brussels, on behalf of the Council of the EU. The MEPs discussed the funding of the Union's two new trust funds for Syria and Africa, the "EU Regional Trust Fund" set up in response to the Syrian crisis ("Madad" Fund), and the "Emergency Trust Fund for stability and the fight against the deep-seated causes of illegal migration and the phenomenon of displaced persons in Africa". They invited the Member States to respect their commitments on this matter. Nicolas Schmit recognised that Member States' commitments to the trust funds were insufficient, however, he indicated that these are likely to increase, in particular through the Valletta Summit. He also called on MEPs to take account of the international nature of the crisis.
The 12th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM) organised in Luxembourg in the context of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, ended on 6 November 2015 after a second day of discussions. During the final press conference, the Luxembourg Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairperson of the meeting, Jean Asselborn, hailed a "very important" meeting during which the discussions tackled a series of priority subjects such as climate change, the Sustainable Development Programme for 2030, the management and reduction of disaster risks, connectivity and the future of ASEM.
The 12th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers' Meeting (ASEM), entitled "Working together for a sustainable and secure future", was held in Luxembourg on 5 and 6 November 2015. The aim of this meeting was to review the commitments made during the Milan Summit in October 2014 and prepare for the 20th anniversary of ASEM, which will be celebrated at the next ASEM Summit in Mongolia in July 2016. On 5 November, the items on the agenda for the first session are climate change, the Sustainable Development Programme for 2030 and the management and reduction of disaster risks; the second session focuses on connectivity and the future of ASEM. On 6 November, during a discussion session, the Ministers discuss international and regional affairs. Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, stressed the need to strengthen cooperation between Europe and Asia in order to tackle common global challenges.